The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 1, 2013

Mike Pound: Congress like college, but with scotch instead of beer

By Mike Pound

— Years from now, people all over the United States will look back and remember exactly where they were when they heard that an agreement — sort of — had been reached to prevent the nation from plunging off the fiscal cliff. That’s assuming that Congress didn’t screw things up, and even if it didn’t, there is still a possibility of another fiscal cliff in a few months.

As I type this, the Senate has approved an agreement to raise taxes on people who make a lot of money.

How much money?

If you have to ask, it won’t affect you.

In exchange, taxes on the rest of us will remain about the same, and I think there might be a few budget cuts.

I’m really not an expert on the fiscal cliff. The only thing I know is that the orange thing on Donald Trump’s head alone will pay $1,389,873 in additional taxes.

I think that’s fair.

As I just mentioned, I’m not much of an expert on the fiscal cliff. What I am an expert at is putting things off until the last minute and, even then, not getting everything done that I was supposed to get done. So I think I understand what our elected officials in Washington have done.

First of all, rather than reach an agreement in November that everyone knew they would reach, our elected officials decided to wait until New Year’s Eve and then reach an agreement that will have to be revisited in a few months. It’s like skipping a college class for an entire semester and then cramming all night in hopes of acing the final so you can pass a class in which you should have gotten an A in the first place.

So, what happens is you wind up getting a C, which leaves you behind in the next class, which builds on what you were supposed to learn in the first class. What that means, of course, is that you are so lost in the second class that you stop going to it and have to pin you hopes on cramming for the final again.

Sigh. I miss college.

“But Mike,” you say, “Washington, D.C., isn’t like college.”


Washington, D.C., is just like college, except in Washington the “students” get paid to skip class.

Remember those guys in college who were fourth-year sophomores?

Well, in Washington, those guys are called incumbents.

Who would want to leave college if he didn’t have to? You get to sleep late, stay out until all hours of the night drinking beer and hanging out with friends, and have little, if any, real responsibility.

It’s the same with Congress, but in Congress you drink scotch instead of beer. Oh, and you get to ride in a chauffeured limousine.

From what I understand — and it’s possible that I don’t — one of the things that stalled an agreement on the fiscal cliff is that the Republicans think the Democrats are — to use a political term coined by the late, great Teddy Roosevelt — “doo-doo heads.”

And the Democrats — to quote Adlai Stevenson — think the Republicans “have cooties.”

Clearly, the lines have been drawn.

According to what I read, the guy who managed to save the country from falling off the fiscal cliff was Vice President Joe “Uncle Joe” Biden.

Apparently, Uncle Joe met behind closed doors with Republican Sen. Mitch “Mitch” McConnell and gave him “noogies” until Mitch agreed to a deal.

It’s pretty much how the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was worked out.

Now all that is left is for the House of Representatives to get together and vote on the agreement worked out by Uncle Joe and Mitch.

Gee, what could go wrong there?

See, in Washington, D.C., the Senate represents the snotty, rich fraternities, and the House … well, the house is known as the “Animal House of Representatives.”

What that means is either the Animal House of Representatives will approve the fiscal cliff deal or it will reject it. And you know what happens if it rejects it, don’t you?

That’s right: road trip.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.